How to Create Success for Your Business Through Digital Transformation Only a decade ago, digital transformation seemed like a foreign concept for many. Today, it is table stakes for businesses that want to stay competitive.

By Jim Contardi

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Businesses across every industry strive to keep pace with the rapid evolution of digital transformation, recognizing the importance of embracing new technologies and solutions to stay competitive. Along the way, however, many become distracted and overwhelmed by the flashiest new thing and its projected benefits — losing sight of it is actually the right approach based on the unique needs and considerations of their own organization.

With so much at stake, let alone the significant time and resources required in adopting new tech-driven solutions, companies must employ a sound innovation strategy to guide their journey. Leaders can feel pulled in differing directions, but the keys to successful digital workplace transformation can be broken down into three categories: empowering your employees, listening to your customers and optimizing your processes and product offerings.

Empowering your employees

First and foremost, having "buy-in" from your employees is vital. Employee recognition can be a powerful driver of employee engagement and satisfaction. By having open conversations with workers, leaders can foster a culture of openness and encourage higher levels of performance. Resistance to change is one of the most significant challenges leaders face in these efforts. More often than not, employee pushback is primarily due to a lack of familiarity with new technologies — or fear that automation will cost them their jobs.

Likewise, if employees don't understand why change is occurring and what makes it important, it can be harmful to morale and performance. Rather than let hesitation fester, empower employees to advance at their own pace, even if it is more foundational first steps, such as migrating to a cloud-based format.

Another major challenge in uniting the company around an undertaking of this nature is a lack of communication. Leaders need to educate their employees every step of the way and strive to implement valuable feedback. Once enacted, leaders should clearly define individuals' roles and responsibilities so they align with the transformation's goals and help the organization's needs. Let's face it, employees are closer to the day-to-day realities of the business than leadership teams, making their input critical to long-term success.

Success is also more likely to occur when business upskill their workforce during the company's digital transformation journey. One way to do this is to establish continuous learning opportunities and environments at work.

Related: Simplifying Digital Transformation at Your Small Business

Engaging your customers

Most companies only look inward when embarking on their digital transformation journey. However, in today's increasingly competitive environment, what sets businesses apart comes down to the quality of the customer experience. Customers expect a world-class experience, and they aren't shy about taking their business elsewhere if interacting with your company is too cumbersome.

The customer is at the core of any business improvement initiative, and a clear understanding of their role offers key insights to inform and enhance your own approach.

With the majority of customer interactions taking place online, organizations have an excessive amount of data at their fingertips. With this data, you can track patterns and identify areas for improvement, providing superior support and strengthening your customer relationships at scale. Additionally, data collection can be leveraged to improve operations, increase revenue streams and accelerate product development.

Related: Digital Transformation Is a Must. Here's How the Voice of the Customer Should Help Drive It.

Optimizing your process and product

Having key insights from employees and customers is only part of the equation. All businesses should be focused on optimizing their processes and service offerings by evolving their core business to stay current with technology advancements. This is all about changing your core business to stay current with technology. When undertaken correctly, there are several resulting advantages, including flexibility, scalability and cost savings. Additionally, businesses can streamline processes and eliminate manual, repetitive tasks.

If you're used to delivering a catalog of products that rarely changes, then it's essential to modernize. Focus on real business needs and current performance challenges, building on solutions that have already worked well at individual sites and can be rolled out pragmatically across the network.

It's no secret that investment in new technologies can be daunting, but failure to adapt is ultimately more costly in the long run.

Related: Digital Transformation Means Adopting a New Culture: Here's How To Do It

Looking ahead

Only a decade ago, digital transformation seemed like a foreign concept for many. Today, it is table stakes for businesses that want to stay competitive. Whether stuck in pre-strategy purgatory or under mounting pressure to demonstrate outcomes, companies can become frustrated, distracted and discouraged. By working through systems in the old, pre-digital manner, there are many redundancies and areas where the time lag is so significant that it can impact your whole business. 

The sooner you start investigating, investing in and deploying new technology, the better position you'll be in to grow, improve efficiency, and achieve longevity in the rapidly changing market. Digital transformation can streamline these processes so that your business runs optimally and, perhaps more critically, at the pace of the digital age.

Jim Contardi

CEO of Revalize

Jim Contardi serves as the chief executive officer of Revalize, the worldwide leader in revenue operations software for manufacturers, their distributors, and their specifiers.

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